Published: 14th November 2017
At 17, this child-abuse victim from Shillong goes from village to village helping children speak up about abuse
SOS Children's Village helped Aitisha Marwein to not only help her speak up but encouraged her to stand up for other victims and help them find the help and support they needed
Growing up with four younger sisters and three younger brothers in a small village in Shillong, Aitisha Marwein had her share of responsibilities from a very young age. Her mother used to go to work in the fields every day and she was left with the task of cleaning the houses, cooking for her siblings and other chores. "I was so busy and overworked all day that I didn't even have time to play with my friends like a normal child," says Aitisha.
As if things couldn't get any worse, her father was an alcoholic and started abusing her from the age of eight. "There was no one else at home when this used to happen and I couldn't do anything about it. I didn't even understand what was happening," she says. Fortunately for her, there was an NGO in her village that worked for child rights and Aitisha was one of the children in the group. She started opening up about her father with other kids in the group.
Sky is the limit: Nominated by SOS for the 2017 International Children's Peace Prize, Aitisha Marwein, now 17 has put her past behind
The members of the group gave her the courage to inform the animator (a facilitator who helps rescue children). He took me to the SOS Children's Village and encouraged her to call the state's Childline number. They came to visit her village, found out what was happening and immediately took her to a shelter in another part of the district.
Now, Aitisha at the shelter, Aitisha finally feels at home. "I remember living in fear every day back in my house. Today, I feel safe and I can go to bed peacefully every day," says Aitisha. She is currently in Class IX and goes to school every day and gets enough time to interact and have fun with others her age.
Nominated by SOS for the 2017 International Children's Peace Prize, she, now 17 has put her past behind and is working hard to ensure no one has to go through what she did. When asked about what she'd like to do in the future, she says,"I want all the children in my village, both boys and girls to be well educated, and have the courage to speak out."